skip to Main Content

Female-perpetrated infanticide in captive white-lipped deer

White-lipped deer in Zoo Ústí nad Labem © Jan Robovský

Although infanticide is widespread among mammals, this phenomenon in ungulates, and more specifically in cervids, remains very rare. We report a case of infanticide in a captive group of white-lipped deer (Cervus albirostris). The infanticide of a non-filial newborn female calf was carried out by two females. The attack was intentional and the attackers killed the calf by biting it and kicking it with their forelegs. The mother of the calf, which was multiparous, witnessed the scene, but no important intervention of the mother was recorded during the attack. This is the first report of female-perpetrated infanticide among cervids. Resource competition, adoption avoidance, pathological behaviour of the infanticidal individuals, and social hierarchy competition may explain the killing.

Král, P., Bukovský, J., Pluháček, J., Voldřichová, M., & Robovský, J. (2019). A case of female-perpetrated infanticide in captive white-lipped deer (Cervus albirostris)Journal of Ethology, 1-6.

Back To Top